Scholarships for UK students from ethnic minorities
Scholarships aimed at students with ethnic minority backgrounds are available in a number of subjects to study across universities in the UK.
Scholarships for students from ethnic minorities offer financial support throughout their time at university. This might be in the form of a tuition fee waiver, a grant to help with living expenses or a mix of the two.
Some universities and organisations refer to these scholarships as being offered to 'BME' (Black and Minority Ethnic) or 'BAME' students (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic). For the most part, the scholarships below are for students from all ethnic minorities in the UK (unless specified otherwise) and, unlike Student Loans, these will never have to be repaid.
However, this is not an exhaustive list of all the scholarships available to ethnic minority students in the UK, so if none of these apply to you, don't be put off. This is just to give you an idea of what's out there.
Ethnic minority scholarships, grants and bursaries
A word on terminology – whether the award on offer is a 'grant', 'bursary', or 'scholarship', it is always non-repayable. Bursaries and scholarships tend to be funded by universities, private companies, charities or individuals whereas grants tend to come from the government. But not always.
The word 'grant' in the context of this guide refers to any amount of money that isn't repayable as none of the awards below are government-funded. We're using terminology fairly interchangeably here, but all you need to remember is that none of these will ever need to be paid back.
The Amos Bursary is comprised of two different awards: the actual Amos Bursary and the Kings, UCL & Imperial College Scholarships.
Eligibility criteria: Students of African and Caribbean descent who are currently in Year 12 and who are applying for a course at any university.
Award amount: The award provides financial support for students throughout their time at university and post-graduation.
Kings, UCL & Imperial College Scholarships
Eligibility criteria: Students of African and Caribbean descent who are currently in Year 13 and who are applying to King's College London, University College London or Imperial College London.
Award amount: The award provides financial support for students throughout their time at university and post-graduation.
Bank of England African-Caribbean Scholarship
A scholarship for students wanting to pursue a career in Finance or Banking via the Bank of England.
Eligibility criteria: Students must be from a Black, Mixed African or Caribbean background who have applied to one of the bank’s internships. They should also have a household income of less than £50,000 per year.
Award amount: The award is worth at least £5,000 for one academic year of study, and is intended to cover living expenses and other study-related costs.
BAME Postgraduate scholarships – University of Leicester
The University of Leicester’s College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities is offering scholarships to postgraduate students from ethnic minorities to increase diversity in academia.
Five awards will be made to students applying for a distance learning course, and five will be made to students applying for a campus-based course.
At the time of writing, applications are closed but they will open again soon.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants should be students eligible for domestic student status holding an offer of a place to study a master's degree at the University of Leicester in one of the following disciplines:
- Archaeology and Ancient History
- Museum Studies
- Politics and International Relations
- Media and Communication
- Modern Languages
- History of Art
Award amount: The awards include a full tuition fee waiver and academic support and mentoring.
Barbara Raw English Scholarship for Black UK Students – Royal Holloway, University of London
One scholarship is available for a new undergraduate student studying for a single or joint honours degree in the Department of English.
Eligibility criteria: Black UK students who have achieved or are expected to achieve AAA in their A Levels or the equivalent, and wish to study a selected degree in the English department. Applicants must also hold a current conditional or unconditional offer to study at Royal Holloway.
Award amount: The award is worth £6,000 and payable over three years.
Black Bristol Scholarship Programme – University of Bristol
The University of Bristol will provide funding to around 130 Black students over the next few years, with more than £1 million in scholarships available over the first four years of the programme. There are multiple scholarships available, including:
Access Postgrad scheme
Eligibility criteria: Applicants need to be from an underrepresented background at the University of Bristol and eligible to pay Home fees. In addition, they need to be in their final year of undergraduate study at the University of Bristol and complete the Access Postgraduate Scheme.
Award amount: 10 students will get a fee waiver of up to £5,000 towards postgraduate tuition fees.
Black Bristol PGCE Scholarships
Eligibility criteria: Applicants should be from a Black or mixed background (to include Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other), hold an offer to study on a PGCE programme, are UK residents and eligible to pay Home fees.
Award amount: There are four scholarships of £2,500 paid in two equal instalments.
Black Futures Scholarship
Eligibility criteria: Students must be UK applicants for a full-time undergraduate study and hold an offer (or are awaiting a decision) to study at the University of Bristol. In addition to that, they need to be from Black or mixed background (to include Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other) and be able to demonstrate financial need.
Award amount: Up to 20 awards of £2,000, with an additional £2,500 available for employability opportunities.
MA Black Humanities Scholarship for teachers
Eligibility criteria: You can apply if you are from a Black for mixed background (including Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other), have Qualified Teacher Status and are currently employed in a UK school. You must also have applied for the MA Black Humanities programme and be eligible for Home fees.
Award amount: Two scholarships covering all fees for the programme.
Eligibility criteria: Applications must be UK nationals and have a Black or mixed background (including Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other). Students also must have applied for one of the following research-related master's programmes at the University of Bristol:
- All MRes, MPhil, and MScR programmes
- MSc Accounting and Finance
- MSc Banking Regulation and Financial Stability
- MSc Climate Change and Policy
- MSc Environmental Policy Management
- MSc Human Geography: Society and Space
- MSc Paleobiology
- MSc Volcanology
Award amount: Five scholarships are available, covering Home tuition fees, a student stipend (at around £15,000) and a contribution to research, travel and conference costs of £1,000.
The Black Heart Scholars Programme – The Black Heart Foundation
Several scholarships are available to students at all stages of higher education and can help applicants with the costs of a classroom-based degree or with the costs of experiential education (eg. research or fieldwork). Awards are for students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, and as such are not solely focused on ethnic background.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants should present a clear case of financial need. The programme supports candidates undertaking studies primarily in the UK or in the USA, but the Foundation is open to considering other locations.
Award amount: The amount awarded will be based on a case-by-case basis and may cover tuition fees, living expenses and other education-related costs.
Claire Prosser Bursary, Journalism Diversity Fund – National Council for the Training of Journalists
The Claire Prosser bursary is awarded each year to an applicant who wishes to pursue a career in broadcast or digital journalism.
The scholarship is not exclusively focused on ethnic backgrounds but is open to all applicants whose social class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or other individual circumstance (e.g. they spent their childhood in foster care or are a single parent) is underrepresented in newsrooms in the UK.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants must have secured a place on a postgraduate NCTJ-accredited course, be British citizens residing in the UK, have a range of journalism-related work experience other than experience on a student newspaper and are not in receipt of any other bursary awards.
Award amount: The award includes £6,000 and a work experience opportunity with BBC News, Press Association and Times Radio.
Diversity100 PhD Studentships – Birkbeck, University of London
The University of Birkbeck is offering five studentships for PhD students to undertake academic research in any discipline.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants should be new PhD students or current Birkbeck PhD students who have at least 50% of their research remaining from ethnic minorities who ordinarily reside in the UK and are eligible for domestic student status.
Award amount: Awards offers financial support for tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend for living expenses for up to three years full time, or five years part-time.
Frank Olufemi Akindolie Medical Scholarship
Eligibility criteria: Full-time students from ethnic minorities who are already studying at a UK medical school. Students currently at secondary school who are either still considering a career in medicine or holding an offer to start medical school in the future are not eligible to apply.
Award amount: The award is worth £1,500 and also includes a one-year-long mentorship.
George Viner Memorial Fund bursary – National Union of Journalists
This bursary supports students from ethnic minorities who wish to pursue a career in journalism.
Eligibility criteria: Students from ethnic minorities who have received a formal offer for an NUJ recognised media course.
Award amount: Applicants may request a bursary covering realistic costs related to completing the course, including tuition fees, accommodation, travel expenses, books etc. Successful candidates will also receive mentorship and career guidance.
Law Society Diversity Access Scheme
The Law Society Diversity Access Scheme supports 10 people every year from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who want to become solicitors.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants must not have access to financial gifts of family loans, nor should they have more than £5,000 in savings. They must also meet two or more of the following criteria:
- Have attended a non-fee paying school
- Are the first generation of their family to attend higher education
- Were eligible for free school meals whilst at school
Students who don't meet these criteria may still be eligible if they have faced exceptional circumstances to pursue their studies linked to race, class, sexuality, religion, disability, ongoing health issues or other personal circumstances.
Award amount: The award includes a bursary to fund the LPC, work experience and mentoring support.
The Lord Blunkett Widening Access Awards – University of Law
The Lord Blunkett Widening Access Awards aren't exclusively focused on applicants' ethnic backgrounds. They're offered to students whose "circumstances may otherwise prevent them from completing their studies" with the intent of promoting greater diversity in the workplace.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants should have received an offer for a place at the University of Law's undergraduate Criminology, Law or Policing courses and must have obtained a minimum of BBB at A Level (or equivalent).
Award amount: Awards are worth £1,000.
BAME Music Scholar’s Fee Waiver – Goldsmiths University of London
This award aims to support one student from an ethnic minority who intends to progress through postgraduate study and into an academic research position in music.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants from ethnic minorities who hold domestic student status.
Award amount: The successful applicant will be awarded a full tuition fee waiver.
The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarship
These scholarships are provided by the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation and are available to students at all levels of higher education.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants should be new students from an ethnic minority who are starting on a full-time course at any level of higher education in one of the following subjects of fields of study:
- Multi-sector disciplines
- Any other industry encouraging Black and mixed-race female leadership in the UK.
Award amount: The award will cover costs related to education and the successful applicants will also have the opportunity to be mentored by leaders in their respective fields and gain work experience.
Open Futures Scholarships – Open University
The Open University offers a number of scholarships for students from ethnic minorities studying any discipline at undergraduate level.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants from an ethnic minority with a household income of no more than £25,000 a year who are UK residents and are eligible for domestic student status. Applicants should also be new undergraduate students who do not already hold a higher education qualification, and who are studying at least 30 credits per academic year.
Award amount: The awards are worth £500 each. You’ll receive a payment of £250 in each of your first two years of academic study which can be used to cover tuition fees or living expenses.
Oxford-Arlan Hamilton and Earline Butler Sims Scholarship – University of Oxford
This scholarship supports one student from a Black African or Caribbean background studying any discipline at the University of Oxford.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants must be new students studying at undergraduate level who are ordinarily resident in the UK, are eligible for domestic student status and are of Black African or Caribbean heritage (including applicants of mixed-race with Black African or Black Caribbean heritage).
Applications will not be considered from those applying for a second undergraduate degree.
Award amount: The award covers course fees (at the domestic student rate) and offers a grant for living expenses during three or four years depending on the length of the course. Medical students will only receive funding for the first four years of their degree. An internship grant of up to £3,000 will also be available.
Royal College of Music Scholarships for Black and Ethnically Diverse Students
Three scholarships are awarded to students from ethnic minorities by the Royal College of Music (RCM) every year.
Eligibility criteria: Students must be from an ethnic minority, be a UK national and eligible to pay domestic student fees. They should be applying for the Bachelor of Music course and be attending an audition or interview during the college's main London audition period.
Award amount: Awards are worth up to the value of full fees for each year of the course and can be used either to cover tuition fees or to help with living costs.
SJM Concerts Futures Scholarship – Manchester Metropolitan University
The SMJ Concerts scholarship helps 36 students over three years while studying at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Eligibility criteria: Students must be from a Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic background, have a UK Student Support Number and demonstrate financial need. They must also be enrolled on the first year of one of the following degree programmes:
- LLB (Hons)
- BA (Hons) Business Management
- BA (Hons) Business Management with Law
- BA (Hons) Events Management
- BA (Hons) Music and Sound Design
Award amount: The scholarship includes £1,200 per year of study, for three years.
Stormzy Scholarship for Black UK students – Cambridge University
The much-acclaimed Stormzy scholarship provides support for 13 Black students to attend Cambridge to pursue an undergraduate degree in a discipline of their choice.
Eligibility criteria: Candidates must also have a confirmed place at Cambridge to study a first undergraduate degree, be eligible for full financial support from Student Finance for both a Tuition Fees Loan and a Maintenance Loan and be from one of the following ethnicities:
- Black African
- Black Caribbean
- Black Other
- White and Black Caribbean
- White and Black African
- Any other mixed Black background.
Award amount: Successful applicants will get £20,000 per year of undergraduate study to cover tuition fees and help with living costs.
Toledo Scholarships – National Film and Television School
The NFTS awards scholarships annually to ethnic minority students who wish to enrol on an NFTS master's programme.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants should be from an ethnic minority and be UK permanent residents who are eligible for domestic student status.
Award amount: Awards cover tuition fees and may be worth between £1,000 and £10,000.
UK BAME Studentships in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences – Queen Mary, University of London
Queen Mary University (QMUL) is also offering bursaries to students wishing to pursue study in the Humanities at postgraduate level.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants must be from an ethnic minority and eligible to pay Home fees. They must have been accepted on a Humanities master's degree and be a graduate of QMUL.
Award amount: Awards include a full tuition fee waiver and a stipend to cover living expenses.
UK BAME Studentships in the Humanities – University of Oxford
The Humanities Division of the University of Oxford is offering studentships for students from ethnic minorities who are studying at postgraduate level.
Eligibility criteria: Ethnic minority students pursuing a master's degree (MSt, MSc, MPhil or BPhil) in the Humanities.
Award amount: Studentships cover Tuition fees and provide a grant for living expenses at UK Research Council rates. Awards are made for the full duration of the student's course.
Walcot Foundation Scholarships
The Walcot Foundation offers scholarships to students from the London Borough of Lambeth to support them through university.
This scholarship supports students from ethnic minorities living in the borough of Lambeth, London, who have received an offer at a Russell Group university.
Eligibility criteria: Applicants should live in Lambeth and have lived in the borough for at least one year, be from a low-income household and have accepted an offer from a Russell Group university. There is also a separate scholarship for those who have been offered a place at a university that isn't a Russell Group university for their first degree. Click here for more information.
Award amount: Awards are worth £1,000 per term for three years (£9,000 in total).
Windsor Scholarship – University College London
This scholarship supports postgraduate students from ethnic minorities studying a research degree in selected academic disciplines.
Eligibility criteria: Candidates should be applying for a research degree at UCL in the Arts and Humanities, Social and Historial Sciences or Brain Sciences. They should also be permanent UK residents eligible for domestic student status from one of the following backgrounds:
- Black (Black or Black British African, Black or Black British Caribbean, Black or Black British other or Mixed Black or Black British)
- Pakistani (Pakistani or Pakistani British, or Pakistani Mixed or Pakistani Mixed British)
- Bangladeshi (Bangladeshi or Bangladeshi British, or Bangladeshi Mixed or Bangladeshi Mixed British).
Award amount: The award covers tuition fees and includes a stipend for living expenses plus an additional grant for research costs (e.g. conferences, fieldwork) of up to £1,200 per year. The award also includes a personal and professional development support package.
Even if you're not eligible for any of these scholarships, don't give up. There are many other scholarships, grants and bursaries out there!